Our staff is a dynamic group from all types of backgrounds and with impressive experience to draw from. We work individually and as a team to accomplish the objectives in the organization’s strategy.
PRESIDENT AND CEO
As CEO, Nelson ensures the Council meets the goals and objectives defined by the executive committee. He works closely with top organizations in Arkansas, including its largest employers, state leaders, educators, local government officials and chambers of commerce. The initiatives he’s most proud of are those that set up NWA for inclusion and growth: the Bella Vista bypass, the Health Care Transformation Division and EngageNWA. A native Arkansan, Nelson enjoys being able to balance an exciting career with the low-stress lifestyle of NWA.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Mike works with educators and business people to strengthen the region’s workforce. He partners with area companies to recruit talent as part of the Council’s FindingNWA program. In close collaboration with the chambers of commerce on the Employer Retention and Expansion (ERE) program, he oversees the Council’s relationship with site selectors, who assist companies in evaluating NWA as a place to do business. On the team since 2011, he lives in Washington County with his wife and doggo.
Jeannette Balleza Collins
Jeannette is focused on building an ecosystem that connects ideas, people and resources to ensure entrepreneurial vibrancy—put another way, to highlight and support the brilliant creative potential of NWA and its inhabitants (current and future). As the primary contact for the StartupNWA program, she works with region-wide stakeholders on goals including connectivity, capital access, talent growth, university-industry engagement, resource navigation and story sharing. Originally from Little Rock and currently in Fayetteville, she’s a true champion of the limitless opportunities of NWA.
Ryan’s focus is on supporting the health care system in our area and ensuring its future development to keep our population healthy and strong. His vision is one where all members of the NWA community have access to world-class health care. Before relocating to Bentonville, Ryan held leadership positions in strategy and finance for health care operations in academic, domestic, international and military settings.
ARTS & CULTURE
Allyson works with the local creative community and represents their interests both with the Council and the world at large through our Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange (CACHE) program. An arts administrator, lawyer and former professional dancer with more than 10 years experience in the philanthropic sector, Allyson approaches her role with the perspective needed to support NWA’s network of artists, dreamers and thinkers of all walks.
Nate amplifies the good work being done to move NWA forward as our primary press contact. As an accomplished attorney, he’s a skilled communicator and storyteller. In his current position, he drives content and messaging for the Council’s family of social media channels and websites (including this one, plus the recent FindingNWA You Love series). Born in Camden and currently living in Rogers, he loves experiencing the local culture, from public art to food trucks.
Dan is working to help create a better recycling system and lay the groundwork for a circular economy in Northwest Arkansas. He’s also a master’s student in environmental geography at the University of Arkansas and a writer and photographer with a decade of experience throughout the central U.S. After some time out of state, Dan’s happy to be back in NWA and playing a part in making the region more environmentally friendly.
Based in Arkansas for more than 25 years, Kathryn’s responsibilities include monitoring the news of the day, keeping certain financial and membership records, and preparing for upcoming group meetings of our organization’s members, partners and guests. Kathryn is energized by the NWA community’s diversity and the impact the Council is making.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Margot heads up EngageNWA, a Council initiative that connects leaders in business, government and the community on matters that help create a more inclusive Northwest Arkansas. As a Fayetteville native, bringing people together in her hometown to build an even more welcoming community is close to her heart. Margot works with regional partners to support collaborative efforts, including sharing resources and best practices and highlighting local success stories related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Alicia is responsible for both social listening — staying on top of regional happenings, news and announcements via social media — and managing FindingNWA’s social media marketing and advertising campaigns. She’s built an engaged audience (over 50,000 strong) and is dedicated to inspiring and spreading the love of NWA, from its professional opportunities to its staggering natural beauty.
Lourdes “Lulú” Peredo
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Lulú works with the community and local government to drive momentum and advance diversity and inclusion efforts in the region. She works to build community buy-in by collecting and implementing stakeholder feedback and supporting EngageNWA programs. Originally from Mexico, Lulú has firsthand experience settling in NWA, which makes her a key asset to both the Council and those it serves.
Joe works with educators and businesses to develop and strengthen NWA’s career and technical education programs. He connects colleges, technical schools and high school training programs with potential employers and facilitates meeting their workforce needs. This makes him a valuable resource to both students and schools, supporting and promoting career opportunities. The Springdale native also advocates for regional training and partnership needs with area chambers of commerce.
Aron oversees the Council’s talent attraction and retention efforts, and the lifelong Fayetteville resident is in it for the long haul: His focus on the long-term growth and prosperity of the region keeps him committed and passionate about his role. Aron’s primary responsibilities include content management, designing, implementing, and analyzing FindingNWA’s digital engagement strategies, and working with regional recruiters.
INFRASTRUCTURE & POLICY
Rob is focused on continuing to improve NWA’s infrastructure—from water quality and quantity to highways to public transportation to recycling and waste disposal—frequently partnering with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission and Northwest Arkansas National Airport. And during his time off? You can catch the Springdale dweller on one of NWA’s many bike paths.
LEGAL & SPECIAL PROJECTS
Stacey works on Council member relations, but she also provides support to the Council’s health care transformation division and other initiatives. The cross-functional nature of her role lets her really take in the breadth of the organization’s impact and all the community members it touches.